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Tests and Make-up Exams

Tests and Make-up Exams - How to navigate through God's tests victoriously.

The definition of the word test is as follows: take measures to check the quality, performance, or reliability of (something), especially before putting it into widespread use or practice.  In today's post,  Tests and Make-up Exams, we will see how our loving Raboni {Teacher} administers tests and make-up exams to check our hearts towards Him while providing all the tutoring we need to pass.

What do Judges have to do with Tests and Make-Up Exams


And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals. 12 And they abandoned the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt...

So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he gave them over to plunderers, who plundered them. And he sold them into the hand of their surrounding enemies, so that they could no longer withstand their enemies. 15 Whenever they marched out, the hand of the Lord was against them for harm, as the Lord had warned, and as the Lord had sworn to them. And they were in terrible distress.

16 Then the Lord raised up judges, who saved them out of the hand of those who plundered them. 17 Yet they did not listen to their judges, for they whored after other gods and bowed down to them. They soon turned aside from the way in which their fathers had walked, who had obeyed the commandments of the Lord, and they did not do so. 18 Whenever the Lord raised up judges for them, the Lord was with the judge, and he saved them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge. For the Lord was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who afflicted and oppressed them. 19 But whenever the judge died, they turned back and were more corrupt than their fathers, going after other gods, serving them and bowing down to them. They did not drop any of their practices or their stubborn ways. 20 So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he said, “Because this people have transgressed my covenant that I commanded their fathers and have not obeyed my voice, 21 I will no longer drive out before them any of the nations that Joshua left when he died, 22 in order to test Israel by them, whether they will take care to walk in the way of the Lord as their fathers did, or not.” 23 So the Lord left those nations, not driving them out quickly, and he did not give them into the hand of Joshua.
Judges 2:11-12; 14-23


Here we see the Lord's punishment upon the next generation of Israelites who had abandoned God and served the Baals.

In looking closely at this passage, although the punishment seems harsh, I see a Father who is working in the lives of His children to bring about repentance - He was testing their heart of obedience.

The very tests that God ordained which brought about terrible distress for the Israelites, He then saved them from by raising up judges who rescued them out of the hand of those who plundered them.

The Lord's incredible loving and patient Fatherly attributes are so evident here.   "For the Lord was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who afflicted and oppressed them."  {To read more about the comfort we experience when we view God as our Daddy, please head over to my post Abba,  Father which you can read HERE.}

While the judges lived, the Israelites remained obedient, but as soon as the judge died, they went back to their wicked ways.

Legalism will bring about Tests and Make-up Exams


This type of behavior happens to Believers today who have a legalistic mindset, and depend upon rigid rules to keep them on the straight and narrow.  Now I'm not saying that we shouldn't hold ourselves accountable and follow the commands of the Lord, but what I am saying is we must ask ourselves, in whose strength are we walking in obedience?  Our own works or through dependence on Christ and the Holy Spirit's work within us.

The Israelites example certainly shows us that as soon as that which we are following in legalistic form is gone, we fall back into our old ways and sin abounds.  This is simply a band-aid which does not address the heart surgery that needs to be done.  We have failed the test...

Back to the wayward Israelites.  The Lord's anger burned against them, and He no longer drove out the nations before them in order to test Israel to see if they would take care to walk in the way of the Lord.

I believe the Lord is testing the Israelites hearts to see if they will follow Him without external forces to keep them on the straight and narrow or those circumstances which would make their lives easier.

                  Lack of Trusting the Lord will Bring about                     Tests and Make-up Exams


Sadly, there have been many times where I don't pass the tests the Lord sends my way.  When life becomes difficult, when health is failing, when loneliness sets in, or any other unpleasant circumstance that can happen in the course of a person's lifetime, what does Karen do?  She complains, she frets, she becomes bitter...  It's not pretty.  Because what I am essentially doing is setting conditions on loving God that when life is going great, I will love Him, but as soon as things aren't going well, I become angry at God.

I am failing these tests miserably...

I always remember a Beth Moore quote where she essentially says, "I need to pass God's test the first time so I don't have to take a make-up exam!"  lol.

And it's true.  Don't you find that you seem to have "make-up exams" in those areas where you didn't respond in a manner of trust and obedience.  I wrote about how wasting the word of God contributes to those "make-up exams" in my post Clean Your Plate! which you can read HERE.

The Lord is not sending those make-up exams because He is cruel.  Quite the contrary!  It is because He loves us so much that He is molding and shaping our hearts to follow after His.  When our hearts are wholly aligned with the Holy Spirit's, life will go so much easier.  It doesn't mean that trials will not come along, but it means that in the midst of the trial, we will not fight it, but instead we will experience God's comfort and peace.

How to Prepare for Tests and Avoid Make-up Exams


So to recap my take-aways from Judges 2
  1. My Heavenly Father will allow circumstances in my life to test my heart toward the Lord.
  2. When I am in a season of trial, I must not doubt the Lord, but love and obey Him unconditionally. 
  3. Even when the Lord punishes, He still has mercy and provides relief.
  4. During trials, TRUST that God's mercy WILL come, and that He WILL provide comfort and relief.  
  5. Hope in God - ESPECIALLY during testing.
Remember...

for the LORD disciplines the one He loves, as does a father the son in whom he delights.
Proverbs 3:12

For more encouragement on how to navigate through trials, please head over to the following posts:




Oh how blessed we are to have a Heavenly Father, the God of the Universe, who takes such especial, loving interest in each and every one of His children.   And indeed He provides His word - the study sheet if you will - to navigate through God's tests victoriously.



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Comments

  1. I like how you said the legalistic type things we do to walk the straight and narrow are a band-aid compared to the heart surgery we need. So true. Unless we let the Lord change us from the inside out, all the stuff to make the outside of the cup look presentable will keep falling short.

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    1. Hi Karen, Indeed.

      Thanks so much for stopping by. :-)

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  2. Maybe the Israelites looked to the Judges and not God for the strength to remain sinless before God. We fail when we put our trust in man and not Him. He gives us all the strength that we need.

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    1. Hi Mary, Very well stated. Thanks for adding to the conversation, and thanks so much for stopping by. :-)

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  3. This is a good reminder to follow God, and not men. Visiting from Soaring With Him linkup.

    Liberty @ B4andAfters.com

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  4. My husband always comments when parents don't discipline their children or set boundaries for them 'child abuse.' Loving parents set boundaries, teach, discipline, admonish, and model--that's what love does. If God didn't love us, he'd let us do whatever we wanted.

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    1. Hi Anita, Very well said. Thanks so much for adding to the conversation. And thanks so much for stopping by. :-)

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  5. Sometimes, I feel like I have I have failed, and maybe, I have. Other times it is like an accusation. We all fall short but there is grace.

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    1. Hi Rebecca, Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts here. And thanks so much for stopping by. :-)

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  6. Yes, it's so much better to pass His tests the first time around, but I'm so thankful that we serve a loving Father who doesn't quit but keeps working with us.
    And I'm always amazed as I read the O.T. how He is merciful when even those who seem so wicked to us show the slightest sign of repentance. It gives me hope for my stubborn heart.

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    1. Hi Donna, Amen! Very well said.

      Thanks so much for adding to the conversation. And thanks so much for stopping by. :-)

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  7. Seasons of trial...and oh how the negatives get in the head to make us think we're not doing good, and failing. You are so correct in the analogy of when I do tend to fall off the rails, but have been trying. In sadness, it seems the hardest for me to go and read and visit God.

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    1. Hi Peabea, Thanks so much for sharing so transparently here. I can certainly relate to that struggle. Praising God for His patience and eternal love for us.

      Thanks so much for stopping by. :-)

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